A Lesson in Obedience from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Theologian)
But you see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to you. – Psalm 139:12
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wanted to see moral responsibility, unselfish concern for others, intellectual integrity, self-discipline, and personal commitment demonstrated in the Christian life. The rise of Nazism and the church’s compromise of values in order to fit into Hitler’s agenda appalled him and his family.
As the Nazi’s gained more ground in Germany, Bonhoeffer had to choose between a comfortable and politically correct church or a living relationship with the living Christ. The second choice was the only one he could conscionably make, but it meant loss of security, persecution and, potentially, death at the hands of the Schutzstaffel.
As the temptation to compromise increased, Bonhoeffer’s commitment deepened. He was not concerned with the criticism of his brothers and sisters; he was concerned only with the approval of his Lord. His choice of spiritual power rather than political power ultimately cost him everything. Nonetheless, he preached from the depths of his heart: “When dark hours come, and when the darkest comes upon us, then let us hear the voice of Jesus Christ, which cried in our ears–victory is won.”
We know from Scripture that spiritual rebirth means that God has begun a new work within us, transforming us from the inside out by renewing our minds. Obedience requires us to do our best to obey Him and to cry out to God for help when the going gets rough. As in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s case, when the most difficult situation arises, our obedience will be complete because of our willingness to obey and God’s willingness to assist us.
Father God, I pray that you will make me sensitive to your urgings in my heart. Please help me to be obedient to you, Holy Spirit, despite my circumstance. I know that my strength is in you and even when I cannot find my own voice in the darkness, I pray I will allow You to speak through me. Amen.